West Tisbury: ‘Let’s not go to the dump’


Well, after the big buildup in last week’s column, I actually missed seeing Santa for the first time ever. I have been coughing and aching with the bug that seems to have been running roughshod across the Island. So many people have been sick for weeks. I did go to two events over the weekend, the second being a class at the Hebrew Center I had been looking forward to, then barely made it home to my sofa, my quilt, and my cat for the rest of the day. I will have to write to Santa this year to tell him what I always wish for: World peace.

Saturday was Donald Nitchie’s poetry workshop at the Chilmark library. One of my poems made everyone laugh, and Donald suggested I use it in the column, as the subject is Christmas, kind of appropriate to the season. I hope it makes you all laugh, too. Please remember it was a 10-minute exercise in a poetry workshop, to begin with “let’s …” Here goes.


“Let’s not go to the dump,”

I said to my husband.

He has been unnaturally quiet of voice,

but not in the way

he hurries through our dining room,

looking pained,

biting his lip.

Christmas is spread






scraps of stuff,

bits of greenery, 





glittery projects,

mailing addresses.

Michael hates paper

while I luxuriate in it.

So much to look at,

ideas and possibilities.

My life is an exploded

volcano of chaos

until it’s not.

Presents completed and wrapped.

Boxes packed.

The Christmas tablecloth ironed

and laid across

our spotless table.

Polished candlesticks

with bayberry candles.

A centerpiece of evergreens

and colored ornaments,

windowsills with candlelights,

little villages and bottlebrush trees.

It always gets done in time

and will again, as long as

you don’t look at me like that

and you don’t go to the dump.


Some of the other poets’ first lines were, “Let’s take in refugees,” “Let’s remake ‘Goodwill Hunting,’” “Let’s write a book about how climate change was reversed,” “Let’s make love.”

Our prompt poem was “Dinosaurs in the Hood,” by Danez Smith.

It’s looking very festive around town. The porch posts at Alley’s are wrapped with garlands of greens and tiny white lights. The tree at Old County and State roads is decorated with colored lights, a warm welcome home at the end of the day. North Tisbury and Middletown look like fairylands, and houses all over town are putting up lights and decorations.

Our town party is Dec. 13, Friday the 13th, and it will be a lucky night for a gathering at the Ag Hall, from 6 to 8 pm. Don’t forget that it’s a potluck. The food is always amazing, varied, and delicious. The company couldn’t be better.

Then on Saturday is the West Tisbury Church Christmas Faire from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm. There’s always a rush at the beginning for the perfect wreath or gift or chocolate fudge, so get there early. Lunch will be served between 11:30 and 1:30.

Sunday is Katherine Long’s Winter Solstice party, from noon till 9 pm. Everyone is invited, and it is another one of West Tisbury’s spectacular potlucks. Remember to leave your dog at home.

Then on Monday, Dec. 16, is the 23rd Christmas Concert to honor and benefit Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard. The concert, at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown, will begin at 7:30 pm.

The whole weekend is Christmas in Edgartown weekend, with lots of events and festivities.

At the library this week:

Thursday, Dec. 12, 10:30 am, Laura Jordan’s Little Bird music and movement for children. At 4:30 pm, Michael Blanchard will discuss his new book, “Through a Sober Lens: A Photographer’s Journey.”

Saturday, Dec. 14, 3 pm, a Rock Concert for Kids with the Pinkletinks.

Sunday, Dec. 15, 3:30 pm, Linsey Lee, oral history curator at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, will read from her latest book, “Vineyard Voices Three,” with audio and visual vignettes from some of her interviews with West Tisbury residents who are featured in the book.

Monday, Dec. 16, 11:30 am, Kanta Lipsky’s Balance Workshop. At 6:30 pm, WMVY’s Dave Kish will show a jazz documentary with a discussion to follow.

Tuesday, Dec. 17, 10:30 am, the Adult Community Dance Class with the Yard! At 4:30 pm, Ronnie Citron-Frank will discuss her book, “True Roots: What Quitting Hair Dye Taught Me About Health and Beauty.” Also at 4:30 pm, a Sign Language Practice Circle with Donna Jancsy and Lynn Thorp.

Sue Hruby stopped by earlier with an armload of cat paraphernalia. Since her cat, Rosie, died, my cats and I have been the recipient of many of the cat toys, cat brushes, a spiffy cat perch for Nelson to climb in my studio. Today she brought me a book, “Cat vs. Cat: Keeping Peace When You Have More Than One Cat,” I can hardly wait to start reading it, and hope it will give me some much-needed insight and advice to calm the rough seas of life with our three cats.